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Video: Congressman bares chest to promote fitness

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    >>> we're back now at 8:09. this morning on today's health, america's fittest congressman. aaron schock , republican from illinois, is on a mission. he bares his chest and abs on the cover of "men's health" magazine. he's here along with david zinczenko , the editor in chief of "men's health."

    >> good to be with you.

    >> wow. you have nothing to be ashamed of with the photo, but are you nervous it will come up at all the wrong times in your political career?

    >> there is a risk with it, but i think it is a risk worth taking. it's one of the biggest challenges our country faces. the debate is centered around who's paying for it. should it be the federal government , private business? and the real problem is the rising costings. and they are driven by individual choices.

    >> i was reading about you last night. your kind of motion in this direction started simply. you were in college and you started to notice you were gaining weight. you went to find help of how to get in better shape and eat better and it snowballed into this.

    >> you know, it's all about healthy choices and habits. i found in college i was starting to pick up bad habits in terms of things i was eating, having a more sedentary lifestyle and i realized, this isn't a direction i want to go. i went to a local gym and asked for help.

    >> how much are you working out? you don't get those results without time and effort. how diligent are you?

    >> i have a crazy schedule as a member of congress, both in d.c. and back in illinois. to get in my workout i get up around 5:30 in the morning, get to the gym to do an hour or two of a workout.

    >> a lot of working out. really careful about what you eat though you are on the banquet circuit from time to time. this is a sensible combination.

    >> exactly. it doesn't have to be drudgery. i cheat once in a while and have a scoop of ice cream , you know, a piece of pizza. but it's about choosing healthy things. when i'm at a banquet table i don't grab the bread basket. eat the vegetables, ask for a side of fruit. little things .

    >> david, let's bring you in. that's what's going to help other people. this is nothing dramatic. he didn't go around and change his life overnight. little steps.

    >> that's the idea behind the summer challenge. basically if you canni iget fit for summer you can stay fit for life. to aaron's point, the centers for disease control estimates 80% of the dollars spent on health care could be saved if we just exercised and ate right.

    >> this time issue, you talk about how busy you are. the number one reason people give for not working out or being careful about what they eat is time, being rushed. how do you propose people get around it.

    >> you have to schedule your day. you can always fit in fitness. the fact that he's working out helps him to work so hard. you have to make a lot of small choices. you have to basically make smart choices throughout the day, get the healthy foods into your diet which crowds out the junk.

    >> congressman, we'll ask people to start this and we'll do a progress report mid-summer and come back and check on people.

    >> exactly. they can go to today.com or men's health or women's health to sign up. we have healthy eating tips and a workout regimen. we'll stick with them.

    >> what do you think people can lose? how much could they lose between now and labor day ?

    >> it depends on what their size is now. if they cut back on carbs, have a healthy regimen, 10 or 20 pounds. for me it wasn't losing a ton of weight. i have a lot of meetings, i have to speak a lot and i notice a huge difference when i work out in the morning and when i don't with how productive i am throughout the day.

    >> being told to ask, are you single? people down stairs are curious about it apparently.

    >> yes.

    >> simple answer to a weird question. congressman aaron schock , thank you very much. david, as always, good to see you.

updated 5/9/2011 8:11:39 AM ET 2011-05-09T12:11:39

Let’s be honest: There’s no one single way to transform your body. Ask 10 once-overweight people what kind of exercise plan they used to lose 20, 30, or even 50 pounds, and they’ll likely give you 10 different answers. But if you pay close attention, you’ll find they all have one key factor in common: consistency.

After all, no matter what type of exercise you choose, nothing is more important than that you actually do it. Sure, we think there are ways to speed your results — and we’ll share those with you here — but ultimately, you have to find an exercise plan that you’ll stick with for the long run.

That’s why the number-one fitness rule isn’t to lift weights or to join a gym; it’s to discover physical activities that you like to do, and then make sure you have game plan for working them into your busy schedule. The rest is just details.

To that end, we’ve created this simple guide to help you infuse fitness into your lifestyle for good. We’ve also teamed up with U.S. Representative Aaron Schock (R–IL), who we recently named America’s Fittest Congressman, so that you can show off the results. Join the Fit for Life Summer Challenge, use these principles to get back in shape this summer, and you could appear in a future issue of Men’s Health or Women’s Health magazine!

5 Ways to Stick to Your Workout

Statistically speaking, more than 91 percent of people who start an exercise regimen — even those with the best intentions — bail early, before the habit has taken hold. And 61 percent throw in the barely used towel within the first 7 days. The reasons are universal. At the top of the list: job pressures, family commitments, and painfully long workout sessions that are equal parts boring and complicated. Use these strategies to conquer your time constraints, speed your progress, and simplify your workouts.

Fit for Life Summer Challenge Workouts for Women!

1. Adopt a 3-Day Standard. In a recent survey, the National Center for Health Statistics found that only 19 percent of Americans perform three or more intense workouts a week. Given these hard numbers, it’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll suddenly start exercising 6 or 7 days straight. Fortunately, that level of commitment isn’t necessary: “You’ll get most of the benefits of exercise by working out hard just three times a week,” says Mike Mejia, C.S.C.S., a strength and conditioning coach in New York. “And that’s especially true if you’re out of shape.” Use these strategies to make sure you stick to the plan.

2. Save one workout for the weekend. “Even if Saturday and Sunday are packed with family commitments and home improvement projects, it’s likely that you’ll still have more free time then than on any given weekday,” says John Raglin, Ph.D., an exercise psychologist at Indiana University. And that means you’ll have to fit in only two sessions from Monday through Friday.

Fit for Life Summer Challenge Workouts for Men!

3. Track the ancillary benefits. Keep a job-performance journal on the days you exercise and the days you don’t exercise. Each day, gauge the difficulty of your workload on a scale of 1 (least favorable) to 7 (most favorable), and rate these three categories using the same scale:

  • Your ability to work without stopping to take unscheduled breaks
  • Your ability to stick to your routine or plan (your “to do” list) for the day
  • Your overall job performance

“It’s likely you’ll find that you score higher and get more done on the days you exercise, despite taking time out for your workout,” says Jim McKenna, Ph.D., a professor of physical activity and health at Leeds Metropolitan University, in the United Kingdom. (Make sure you compare days that are similar in workload.) And that’ll reinforce your motivation to keep at it.

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4. Keep your streak intact. Research shows that when people skip a workout, there’s a 62 percent chance they’ll miss an exercise session the following week. Worse, “a single lapse can result in feelings of failure that are so overwhelming, a person will just quit, even though he might have successfully followed through with exercise 99 percent of the time,” says Raglin. If you don’t have time for your entire workout, take 10 minutes and do a portion of your routine — even if it’s only a couple of sets of pushups and lunges.

Fit for Life Summer Challenge Eating Plan!

5. Go hard, not long. If you like longer workouts, by all means, keep going. But don’t underestimate the power of a 30-minute sweat session. YMCA researchers found that men were twice as likely to stick to an exercise program when they performed shorter workouts — less than 30 minutes — than when they did longer sessions. “They also gained more muscle and lost more fat, because they worked at a higher intensity, rather than just going through the motions of a long workout,” says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., coauthor of the study.

Need more motivation? Here are another 20 Ways to Stick to Your Workout.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints


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